February 26, 2019 | 06:02 pm PT

Kim Jong-un visit to boost Vietnam-North Korea trade and investment ties

Kim Jong-un visit to boost Vietnam-North Korea trade and investment ties
Vietnam and North Korean flags are hung on a bridge in northern city of Hai Phong. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Chinh

Vietnam and North Korea can boost bilateral trade, including barter exchanges, and the latter can also attract more investments.

Pham Tien Van, former Vietnamese Counselor in North Korea, and former Vietnamese Ambassador to South Korea, said Vietnam can promote export of consumer goods and food to North Korea if North Korea improves relations with the U.S. and opens its market. 

Pyongyang, in return, could export minerals to Hanoi and the two sides can also start barter exchanges, he told VnExpress.

Vietnamese private enterprises can participate in infrastructure construction projects, real estate construction and tourism services, contribute capital to consumer goods factories, generating employment in North Korea.

The two countries also have the prospect of developing tourism by establishing a train line running from Vietnam to China and North Korea, or even a direct flight route, he said.

Speaking about the official visit to Vietnam by Kim Jong-un, Van said believes the North Korean leader will boost relations with Vietnam, and changes will take place in bilateral political and economic cooperation.

"When Pyongyang needs to expand foreign relations with countries, it will be very important to strengthen cooperation with Hanoi, a traditional friend."

Vietnam can share with North Korea its experience in innovation, opening up the market, and attracting investment. From its perspective, Vietnam’s support for North Korea will be part of its desire to contribute to the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

"I think leaders of the two countries (Vietnam and North Korea) will express their desire to preserve and develop traditional relations, will strengthen exchanges of high-level delegations, and sign some more legal agreements. The two sides will also discuss the potential for cooperation and market research, but there will be no breakthrough in economic cooperation at this point in time," Van said.

Meetings between the top leaders of the both countries will form a basis for developing good relations, and more favorable relations between ministries, branches and localities will stem from this.

Specific cooperation will depend on the international context, when sanctions against North Korea are removed, Van said.

He also said he was optimistic about the outcome of the second North Korea-U.S. summit which will take place in Hanoi on Wednesday and Thursday, with both leaders from the two countries determined to resolve the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. President Trump has great incentive to solve the North Korean problem, when his predecessors failed. "The fact that Trump will directly meet Kim Jong-un makes me believe he would go to the end," Van said.

North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, on the other hand, will use this opportunity to leverage the results of his nuclear program to negotiate with related parties.

"Through discussion with the North Koreans, I understand that their nuclear program over the past few decades is not to compete strategically with the U.S. and other countries, but to ensure the security of their institutions and ensure economic development.

"I think that North Korea will neither develop its nuclear program, nor implement a policy of austerity forever," he added.